Written by: Cal
I like to think the hidden secret to understanding how mainstream analysts breakdown quarterbacks is to realize them doing and saying everything for the sake of entertainment. They like the quarterbacks to fit in a neat little box they can package outwardly and there are generally 3 categories. The quarterbacks that just “look the part” always somehow get the benefit of the doubt no matter how their numbers or previous performance says otherwise. There will always be a talented and accomplished QB that no one is sure how they’ll translate to the NFL. Lastly, there’s the project that has all of the tools without any of the consistency that would make him a star. These 3 archetypes are used a lot so that in cases like this year, where the class isn’t that good, there are still some players for the casual fan to follow. You’ll hear about Patrick Mahomes and Davis Webb, but going back to Tim Couch there hasn’t been an Air Raid alum that’s made a dent in the NFL and that won’t change with these two. This year’s big 3 to look out for are Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, and Deshone Kizer.
What “they” say: Every analyst/scout starts the breathing hard and getting flush whenever anyone mentions this guy’s name. Make sure they’re near a fainting couch if you say his name within earshot. He’s almost become the near unanimous pick as the #1 QB in this draft. You’ll hear about his “physical gifts” because he’s tall and mostly solid. You’ll hear about his “pinpoint accuracy” because of his completion percentage (68%). This is supposedly the guy everyone should be falling over themselves to get.
What I say: They are wrong. Is he an adequate NFL QB prospect? Yes. Is he the best this year? Nope. He’s a slighter version of a prototype QB. I have no faults in that assessment, but his major fault is lack of experience. There’s a good reason why 1 year starters in college don’t usually pan out. In that one year of college there’s not a lot of tape for opponents to reference. He’s not in a situation where he has to learn to adjust when defensive coordinators find his weaknesses and force him to work away from his strengths. Even with the ACC being a top heavy conference the weaker teams would make his 2nd go around a LOT tougher. College teams don’t have the resources of an NFL defensive coordinator. They’ll catch up by game 6 and he’ll go from a sure thing to a project very quickly. It’ll be similar to the nose dive of Carson Wentz. As for the completion percentage, Colt McCoy is the record holder for a NCAA season (76.6%) meanwhile Colt Brennan is the career record holder (70.4%) and we saw how they turned out. Completion percentage in college is never an indicator you should refer to when propping up a prospect.
Where he will go based on projections: 1st round. Top 15 – An impatient team will take a chance. If I were to guess it’d be the Jets or the Bears.
What “they” say: He’s a “mobile” QB, which to my recollection wasn’t a detriment to Johnny Manziel’s scouting report, but in Deshaun’s case they’re determined to make him pay for the sins of previous “mobile” QBs. Seemingly every mobile QB is compared to the more recent failure rather than the successes of Cam or Russ going back to Steve Young or Doug Flutie. You’ll hear the usual, “Can Deshaun successfully translate those skills into a more pro-style offense?” and that’s primarily it.
What I say: Deshaun is the best QB prospect this year, but this year that’s the equivalent of being the world’s tallest midget. It’s not a very good QB class. The benefit of taking Deshaun at the right spot far outweighs the risk. There’s no concern about his arm even though there was a dip in his yards per attempt from 2014 (10.4 yards) to 2016 (7.9 yards). His accuracy can be erratic; some will point to his completion percentage (67%) to counter than point, but watching any of his games are proof of it. He’s durable and sturdier than RG3 or Colin. He’s fixable in terms of his footwork which means those erratic throws can be minimized. His ceiling is a more athletic Drew Brees where he’ll have 2 random games per season where you think he forgot how to throw footballs.
Where he will go based on projections: 1st round. Top 15 – He’s going to go in the 1st round and deserves it.
Where he should go based on his actual talent and fit: 1st round. 30th pick to Pittsburgh – He’ll most likely go to the Browns, Jets, or possibly Bills before this pick happens, but his best fit would be to sit behind Ben for a year or two then inherit a group of young talented skill players instead of being one of the few highlights on a bad team.
What “they” say: He has the arm. He has the size. He has the mobility. He’s an intriguing prospect because of the potential.
What I say: Deshone is only intriguing in the sense that teams are looking for the next Dak Prescott. They want an unheralded prospect to shift their fortune, but Dak’s best attribute is his poise under pressure and that’s something Deshone lacks. Against any team with a semblance of a pulse on defense his performance dropped across all metrics. That doesn’t speak well to his poise or his ability to navigate defenses, but because of those “tools” he has one hell of a highlight package that keeps him in conversations.
Where he will go based on projections: 1st round. Top 20 – If your team is desperate (Jets) or stupid (Bills) there’s a chance he may be your QB in April.
Where he should go based on his actual talent and fit: 2nd round. 57th pick to Houston – They need a QB. He needs a team whose fan base will accept mistakes as long as he’ll occasionally make plays unlike Osweiler who makes mistakes and is allergic to making plays of any kind. That same logic applies to the Chiefs with the 59th pick.
Over the past few years there’s been a trend of teams finding QBs during the later rounds in the draft. It lends itself to the true narrative which is QB is not such a vital position anymore that it requires a team to reach for viable options. A 1st round choice doesn’t have to be perfect, but higher picks should be a player that would be an immediately impactful player to the success of a team and lower picks should allow for continuity of existing success. These 3 simply don’t reach the bar for the former and only Deshaun, if chosen in the right spot, can apply to the latter. Just because a team needs a QB doesn’t mean it needs to happen immediately or with their first round pick(s).